On One Particularly Beautiful Day

A beautiful day in the neighborhood. A good day to do just about anything.

Beginning with a long walk along the bay, watching fish jump for entertainment. Or, whatever fish jumped for–catching prey, impressing fish of the opposite sex–who knew?

Breaking for witty banter with some of the neighbors. Wasn’t traffic near the newly-opened amusement park beginning to snarl?

The pooches had a friendly get-together. There were no canine disagreements. What kind of dog was a Feist? Nobody
knew exactly.

“It was a small hunting dog.” “It was the same as a rat terrier?” “A Jack Russell?” “Must have been from Germany–the name sounded Germanic.”

Business was closed without any new business. The consensus was to wait-and-see on the Feist dog. One of the neighbors was acquiring a new pup.

Substitutions

Why did it even matter?  This has happened many times before.  There were the original “Bo and Luke, Duke” boys and their replacements; substitutions for “John and Ponch” on “CHiPs.”

The latest in TV main character substitutions may be about to happen. Hawaii 5-0’s actors, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are leaving because of failed contract negotiations.

I am saddened to see them leave.  Their characters were strong and appealing.  What would trouble me most, would be for the network to bring in different actors to fill the same roles.

How many different characters have passed in and out of the “Law & Order” franchises over the years?  And, the series goes on.

Was anyone fooled by the two different actors that played daughter Becky Connors on the “Rosanne” show?  Network executives, no substitutions please on Hawaii 5-0.

 

 

Sticks and Stones

Away from home

While missing home

Tropical uncertainties traded

For low humidity, blue skies

Family traditions

Free room and board

Minor discomforts

Boring road food

Some of it was acting

Acting, for the benefit

Of those in attendance

Buddy Holly tribute eyewear

In fashion–without thought

Given to rockabilly legends

Some left to make room

for those, yet to come

Modern-day prophets

Rested, never knowing

Their promised lands

Mere words unimportant

Sticks and stones

 

The Kid’s Table

Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you remember the kid’s table? …At Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and family gatherings.

Adults sat in the dining room, discussed the usual.  Was it pass to the left or right?  Nobody ever gave an answer–because, from that point they would be regarded as the family etiquette expert.

“Where did you get all that energy?  My how you’ve grown.  What grade were you in school?  Did you like school this year?”  Questions answered with poker faces, shoulder shrugs, and “I don’t knows.”

Older kids served themselves.  Younger ones had plates fixed by moms, grandmas, aunts, older brothers, and sisters.  “Eat something else besides mashed potatoes.  Take some of these green beans.  No dessert till you’re finished.”  Lots of laughter prevailed, subdued, so, as to not draw attention from the adult table.

Everybody had a cousin Ralphie–or, someone like him.  Cousin Ralphie balanced green peas on his knife, ate disgusting food mixtures–pickled beets, mashed potatoes, and milk.

“Cousin Ralphies” turned their eyelids inside out, to disgusted “ewws” and “ahs” at the kid’s table.  “What did he need ketchup for?”  A self-appointed gastronomic virtuoso, Ralphie shared his secrets on holidays.  Ketchup made everything more palatable.  It was rumored, Ralphie subsisted on ketchup sandwiches at home.

Mid-afternoon, after dishes were cleared, washed, and put away, the oldest adults were first to leave.  Early evening, tears flowed from the eyes of younger ones, that wanted to stay longer.  Moms, sisters, aunts comforted.  Dads weren’t as patient.

Nicknames

“Hi Dot.  It’s been too long.  Stop by again–sometime.”  Mom’s given name was Dorothy.  Her friends called her “Dot” or “Dottie” before me and my siblings came along.  Nicknames, that were logical extensions of Dorothy.  It seemed weird at the time.

My given name was William, or William, middle name Arthur.  Nobody called me William or Willie–there was the normal Billy, when I was younger, and then Bill.  My closest friends called me “Wild Bill,” after I reached adulthood.  My middle name was left untouched.

Public school kids were cruel.  Nicknames intended as put downs, emphasized worst qualities.  “Four eyes,” for glasses wearers; “gimpy,” or “gimp,” named anyone with hitches in their get-a-longs.

In our little town, several residents had unusual nicknames.  There was “Peachy” Leach, “Push” Banks, “Silver” Scroggins, “Punk” Dowland; sometimes Floyd Rands was called “Slats.”  Never figured the last one out–unless it related to the “Abby And Slats” cartoon.

In high school, I was saddled with “Ice Blue,” because of excess perspiration.  I was also nicknamed “shaky” because of excessive nervousness.  Neither nickname stuck with me–thank goodness.

Why couldn’t I have had one of the cool nicknames–like, Scooter, Skip, Buzz, Zip, Biff?  All of which signified action–toughness.  It was just as well, none fit my personality.  None except “Wild Bill.”  I’ll leave everyone to figure that one out.

Conversation With a Friend

It’s been tough to get going today.  Started a post, didn’t like it.  It’s been shelved, till later. What would Floyd have to say?  If I know him as well as I think I do–something like this.  “If you have something to say–say it!  If you don’t have anything to say–then keep your trap shut!”  Maybe this little talk from 2015 will do me some good.

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“There seems to be a general decline in the ‘effimacaceousness’ of this blog,” Floyd observed–stroking his chin.

“How you figure?”  I answered his question with a question.

“He who answers a question with a question is a fool,”  Floyd philosophized.

“Will you get to the point and knock off the pseudo-intellectual shtick.”

“You’re first and foremost an imaginary character that exists only in my mind.  If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be here.”

“Did I hurt your feelings?  Don’t get your shorts in a bunch.  Just listen.

Floyd was attired for summer–bib overalls and slouchy railroad engineer’s cap.  At least, this time he had on a t-shirt.

Customary brown chewing tobacco spittle stained the corners of his mouth.  He expounded homespun philosophy with one foot on the front bumper of his light blue Ford pickup.

“All I was trying to say–is you need to lighten things up a bit,” Floyd answered.  “Most people get #$%@^& tired of hearing the same negative, mopey )*%@%^* day after day.  I failed to mention that Floyd’s vocabulary would make longshoremen blush.

“I’m glad to see you turned out smarter than your buddy Larry.  He’s purt near broke with three ex-wives.  Hasn’t got a pot to *&$% in.  He should have had enough *&^#$@^! sense to quit after wife number two.”

I hadn’t thought about Floyd for a long time.  Something about unshaven, sweaty men in bibs I’d prefer to avoid–as a general rule.  He was a memorable character.  If one looked past the disheveled, gruff exterior–he always gave good advice.

 

Weird Laws For $200, Alex…

A living trivia category for over thirty years, was the tiny hamlet of Paradise, located in a corner of Michigan’s upper peninsula.  Townsfolk could take social media publicity no longer.

A popular fishing and vacation destination, the “Please refrain from playing Jimmy Buffet music–thank you for your cooperation,” signs in store windows were hard to explain.  The law was impossible to enforce.

“I wouldn’t care if I never heard that “Cheeseburger in Paradise” song, ever again.  And I think most everybody here would agree with me,” Mayor H. Claven Clifford II said at the town meeting.

“If I get another request from a Hollywood media producer, to be interviewed about our being anti-Jimmy Buffet this or that–I’m gonna’ scream.  I swear, Buffet got more publicity from our denial, than he would have gotten otherwise.”

“My father, who was mayor at that time, is probably turning over in his grave.”

“Permission to speak?” Asked Councilman L. E. Muenster.  “Don’t you think it’s time we overturned this asinine piece of legislation?”

“Permission granted.  However, I would caution the councilman to watch his choice of words.  Did you wish to make a motion?”

“Yes, I move that city ordinance 192-85 prohibiting the playing of Jimmy Buffet songs within city limits be overturned.”  The motion passed, almost without objection.

In tiny Paradise, Michigan, it had been against the law to play Jimmy Buffet songs in businesses or public buildings.  It went back to the mid-eighties, when a merchant applied for a license to open a local “Cheeseburger in Paradise” restaurant.

Needless to say, Jimmy Buffet’s lawyers weren’t pleased; threatened legal action if the name wasn’t changed forthwith.  Mayor H. Claven Clifford, not to be outdone, sent a petition to Buffet’s people.  The village of Paradise wasn’t much of a competitive threat–he pleaded.  Paradise, MI was denied–left to its own fates.

Times changed–the years went by.  Most townspeople became indifferent to Paradise’s “Anti-Buffet” ordinance.  After all, Paradise was best know for “pasties”–tasty, homemade meat pies.  And Paradisians were satisfied with the fame that pasties brought their fair city.

Whitefish Point was nearby, and had a museum dedicated to Great Lakes shipwrecks.  Included in the exhibits, was a tribute to the wrecked, Edmund Fitzgerald.  The lake waters began to clear.

The Jimmy Buffet, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” debacle faded from memory.  Gordon Lightfoot, who popularized the “Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” although Canadian, remained as close to being a local favorite son, as anyone else would ever get.

 

http://www.jeopardy.com/–